I haven’t posted anything for a while about the Left’s latest spasm of gun-control hysteria, so let’s catch up a bit with some miscellaneous items.
By far the loudest of the torch-and-pitchfork mob has been the swinish, unapologetically ignorant prig Piers Morgan, whose idea of a “debate” has been to insult and shout down his guests, mock the rationale behind the Second Amendment, point out in a plonking tone that Britain has a lower gun-homicide rate than the U.S., and wave around pictures of AR-15s. If he were serious about using gun-control legislation to reduce homicides, he’d be focusing on handguns, which account for the vast majority of gun deaths. But, statistics be damned (along with the Fallacy of Misleading Vividness); he’d rather talk about rifles, which kill fewer people each year than hammers and clubs.
After shouting down the soft-spoken gun-crime expert John Lott, and then scoring cheap points by hosting the stentorian loony Alex Jones (the one adversarial guest he’s refrained from interrupting), Mr. Morgan made the tactical error of inviting Breitbart’s Ben Shapiro, a whip-smart young man with good manners and a solid command of the issues. Mr. Shapiro, unfazed by Mr. Morgan’s self-righteous indignation and barrage of non-sequiturs, pressed him sharply, demanding that he show some intellectual rigor on two key issues: first, on not going after handguns if you’re really serious about reducing gun murders, and second, on the very reason we have a Second Amendment at all — namely that the Founders, in their wisdom, saw the pre-existing right of the people to bear arms to be a necessary safeguard against tyranny, and so insisted that it must never be infringed. Mr. Morgan’s response to this last was to splutter and jeer; he asked Mr. Shapiro if he had any idea “how absurd” he made himself look by suggesting something so silly. Mr. Shapiro pointed out that history is replete with examples of free societies, including many Western democracies, descending into tyranny — and that the Founders saw very clearly that this was serious risk that could arise very naturally in any society, thanks to permanent and self-evident realities of human nature. Mr. Morgan, busy sneering, didn’t bother to reply. He still hasn’t.
I don’t think Piers Morgan is a stupid man (though I’ll admit I’m beginning to wonder). But if he actually wants to be taken seriously in this “debate”, he should be trying to persuade gun-rights advocates, rather than insulting them. In particular, if he really thinks that, despite the clear lessons of history, the United States of 2013 is somehow immune to tyrannous usurpation of the peoples’ liberty, he should use his television program to explain why. He should invite historians to join him in examining the countless examples we have of such usurpations, both in the West and elsewhere, and then make a persuasive case that it simply can’t happen here. Don’t hold your breath, though: leaving aside the fact that it can’t be done, I don’t think Piers Morgan is man enough to try.
OK, moving right along: Here’s a fine piece by Mark Steyn on what totalitarian gun control has done for Britain. (Britain’s rate of violent crime is far higher than our own, in case you hadn’t heard.)
Here are two items from blogger, author, and armorer Michael Z. Williamson:
Here’s a brief exegesis of the Second Amendment, by another Williamson.
Lastly: if gun-ban zealots could stop shouting at us long enough to do so, and would open their minds just wide enough to admit some actual data, they might take the time to read this report, issued from the heart of the Cathedral itself.